Caren Ware's Blog

September 28, 2010

Leading the way. Back of the pack.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 5:15 pm

Alive n Running 5K was held Sunday on the back side of LAX Airport in Westchester. Airplane goers dotted the fence and watched aircraft lift and loom overhead as we laid out the mats and chutes for a flat and fast course and awaited the 1000 participants. Ironically, I got a txt that the once “voice” in my life was on an airplane headed to South Africa for a jungle contract. Bye plane. But back to the runners. They came from all over and with all kinds of life.  Alive and Running is a celebration of breathing, living, enjoying, and recovering from the loss of those who have chosen not to through suicide.  Page back to June 2, 2010 blog and know that my daughter got to experience young, pointless death through the seemingly unstoppable progression of depression in a gifted, talented girlfriend.  This girl’s family tried harder than any on earth and she still chose to end her life .  Lots of runners were there to find recovery from the same grief and unfathomable loss of suicide.  My daughter tried to share that hurt with one of the runners and I was sad to witness the person brush it off with a trivia,”Yeah.  I hope to run my PR today.”  We runners sometimes fail ,big time, to listen or take a moment to relate to others, our accomplishments being the focal.  Just a reminder and a heads up to have a little sensitivity, myself included, to all those around us.  Look around and discover who is feeling today.  Novel idea.

The back of the packers seem to have this down. They found dog owners.  They walked with their kids in matching shirts and head bands.  And they wore ridiculous hats to remind themselves to not take life so seriously!

But there is also something to be said about the man or woman who puts every ouch of themselves out there…on the line…and wins.  Joseph Haradarian was one of those men. He won the entire event with a surge to stay one step ahead of his competition and collapsed after the finish mats.  He finished with nothing left to give and everything gained on the course. That takes wow.  His BIOLA singlet caught my attention.  That is my college alma mater.  History trivia on myself, I ran for 4 years on this private college’s track team as the first female to do so.  Back in the day, an initiative was passed in California that demanded that institutions offer equal opportunities for females, mainly demanding that sports opportunities open up.  Since I ran on a guys track team in High School (what an experience for the shy girl to get to hang out with so many cool boys!), I was trained to race.  Despite being naturally skinny, I was head strong and fast out of the blocks.  I could take on any girl in the state.  I was one of the first to get a female sports scholarship.  And I ran my heart out.  We needed points so I ran a lot of events, jumped, and ran both relays back when event totals were not limited.  Thus was born the experience and aptitude to do multi-events on the track to this day.  So I took the time to greet the Biola guy warming down for the race.  He had a gentle Forest Gump demeanor about him and he was very gracious about giving his running credit to people who took the time to coach him and encourage him.  They must have done a good job because he won the Junior Olympics in the 1500 at one time.  He is now 20 years old and training hard for cross-country and track at Biola.  Run, Joe, Run!

I like the Karma of Karma

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 5:08 pm

Read back June 29,1020 ‘Don’t Pass up Pasadena” when I took the time to experience the The Tibetan House.  I meet Karma ,who convinced me that a trek into the Himalayas using running a marathon as the excuse was going to be rewarded with a culture of people worth exploring and a landscape like to other.  While in Pasadena for the Say No to Drugs Half Marathon I asked my daughter to join me for dinner at this small restaurant  that would be like flying into a tiny Tibetan village. It was nice to sit in the quiet spirited place in the cool of the afternoon after a morning of staging a race in 100 degree temperatures.  It was even nicer to say another hello to Karma after all these months and let him know I actually accomplished one marathon on a continent…the Australian Outback.  I like Tibetan and can feel him servicely professional, polite, and willing to tell us about each unique dish we tried.  There is a combination appetizer that was fabulously varied.  And we tried Yak dumplings.  He brought out his phone and showed us a  U-tube video of his village. It is an awing place he is from.  Type in Kimathangka on u-tube and watch the most captivating 6 minutes of people thriving in stone age style, crossing hanging bridges, and hauling sticks up countless rock steps to heights we can only invision from documentaries. This is Karman’s village.  I hope to go there some day.  And he hopes to get his precious family here some day.  I can feel him without saying it that the threat of the Chinese is a real one and his village borders a land that doesn’t want them to be Tibetan.  I think I want to find out more of what the real challenges are.  It takes as much guts for him to come to this very foreign continent  as I think it would take to climb Everest! I hope for a great finish in life for him as he sacrifices to establish himself here for his family .   He said ,since he taught me to say thank you last time…dhanyabad (in Nepalese)… that we should know something more important.

Namaste is a Nepalese word used to greet people, every day, everywhere.  He placed his two hands together in prayer form, did a slight bow and said,”Namaste” with a tilt of his head.  It felt warm and welcoming, just the way I feel when I am with Tibetan people. He said it is a sending of good feelings or good love to another person.  I like that.  Message sent.  He gave up large tables to wait on in order to tend to ours.  He helped us learn more about Tibetan food, Nepalense food, and the cultures.  And so in gentle nature of what Tibetans are about, I noticed my tip had been reversedly charged and not accepted.

By the way, SAY NO TO DRUGS HALF MARATHON & 5K was an excellent race. I have never seen a better fed crowd.  They had ‘Batter Matter’s” a pancake product serving pancakes, Jamba Juice serving juices, Seattle’s best coffee with vanilla lattes, bagels, donuts, oranges, bananas, coke products, sports drinks.  You name it.  The race commitee also stages a great race in December 5, 2010 at Universal Studios.  Our company knows them on first name basis…Ray and Ryan and Arias and a host more…because they are that kind of group with one great cause.  Talk about family!  Look up and be well fed, well expo-ed, and entertained by the backlot of Universal Studios.  Oh, and the Laker Girls were there.  I am twice their age!  Definitely, they are the ab queens!

A Runner’s Circle…has everyone running in a straight line!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 5:04 pm

Bibs were available for pre race pick up for the Say No to Drugs Half Marathon & 5K at  A Runner’s Circle, a hip running store located just off the 5K Fwy across from Griffith Park on 3216 Los Feliz Blvd, Los Angeles. Check out I got a chance to hang at the store on Friday and it was a rewarding chance to meet Joe Matias, the owner.  Joe came here from the Philippines 13 years ago with business sense. He got involved  in the running industry by managing Top to Top in Santa Monica and ventured into designing his own store.  As a business owner, I complimented him on his branding of this specialty store.  He has a red mascoted mini coop parked out on the curb, a SUV to match, flags, and a red logoed awning inviting you into the store.  Once in, you are treated to runner expertise and a full spectrum of choices to gather anything a runner would need: shoes, socks, gels, water packs, attire.

The red singlet team we see at a lot of races is his running club.  He says his team goal isn’t to be about the fastest, it is to be about family.  His motto is “willing to improve.”  The willingness to improve is his only prerequisite for being on the team.  Joe showed me pictures of his Tuesday and Thursday night training runs.  It looks like he is hosting a nightly race, there are so many happy participants.  Rightfully so.  He has a great resource of running courses all around Griffith Park right across the street from his shop.  I asked him if he could point out the trail to the Hollywood sign.  It is a goal of mine to run to it someday.  He smiled and said. “We even have a Hollywood Sign Run on a Sunday morning once a month.  It comes with a shirt that says, ‘I ran to the Sign’.  How cool is that!

September 21, 2010

deja vu

Filed under: Uncategorized,Women Running — Caren Ware @ 1:11 pm

After watching the sun close the day, I punched in the motel address in my phone navigator and traveled along the coast past where we would time the Playa del Run at Zuma Beach.  Past Pepperdine University.  The navigator finally bellowed, “You have arrived at your destination.” I looked around and could not locate a motel.  But there was that Green Produce Market I had pulled into May 7, 2010. Ipulled into its parking lot. I  remembered the healthy deli food choices it offered. My arm instantly drew in and held me in a hug as I remembered how lost and hurting my life had been when I had pulled into that parking lot in back in May.  The ‘voice’ was out of my life. The divorce process was in…and in limbo.  My husband was in my face. And I didn’t know how to take the next step in life.  I had met an ultra eventer in this produce market . Read my blog back on May 7.   “Look What I Found in the Produce Section.”  Remember, Chris Frost.  He had told me about the beauty of meeting people and exploring places through the choices to train and do exotic events.  It was what made his life full of meaning and friends.  His short interaction in that produce section filled my sails to go after the remote marathons on every continent.

So I went in the store to ask them where the Malibu Motel was and get some healthy deli something for dinner.  There was only one other person in the entire store.  He was standing at the counter putting his items into his basket. I looked at the road map definition in his calves and said to the back of his head, “Your name would not happen to be Chris?”.

He swung around and looked at me in utter déjà vu.  He said he normally doesn’t come by this market at this time or regularly so the chances of me seeing the same person, at the same counter, in the same town, all these months later was perfectly weird and rare. We exchanged adventures; my travels to the OUTBACK and down under and his longest Badwater to Whitney ever.  He said that having a rough race like that made him see three sunrises in one race, but also let him see a different end of the event, a different set of people.  It was all the more meaningful and nothing like he had planned. Mine either. 

Can I share with you the healing in this chance running into someone?  It helped me see how far I had come, that there was some growth, and that I had done something I had set out to do. I hadn’t sat back hopeless and helpless though I felt that many times. I was having a LOT of chance happenings in my life right now. Some I hope to share with you some day.  But this tiny second interaction  was so welcomed at a time that I am do nothing more than self hugging myself and getting through it.

Chris agreed to drop by at the end of the race we were timing at Zuma Beach and try to chance me joining him on the end of his training run.  I am glad we got to.  He took me up a hill climb and a trail that overlooks the entire peninsula.  The whales are migrating and the dolphins are out their frolicking around them in their own little pods.  Kelp drifting. Surge rolling.  Aqua, emerald seas.  It was revitalizing.  It was a gorgeous view.  And it was in our backyard, not a hemisphere away.  WOW. WOW.  Chris took the patience to show me stride tricks to conserve effort for the miles and how my arms swinging across my chest and my hip rock was enough to wear out any runner. He txted me later that day.  “That was fun.”  And it was.  It was exactly what he promised doing events out of the box would bring.  People and places to meet and explore. Simple. Simply fun.

Here is a collection of event athletes to meet and greet: 

Jordan Rapp hands down won the Playa del Run…a surf swim and 5k sprint.  He is a pro triathlete that won Ironman Arizaona in 2009 and Ironman Canada in 2009.  Big news on Jordan is he was hit by a car on March 23, 2010 riding out of Port Hueneme.  This was his first race since the accident. Looks like he has done a champion job recovering. When asked what his secret was to champion training.  BACON!  Bacon was his answer.  He claims he eats an all bacon diet! 

Mark Montgomery has Ironman sealed in his cells.  He was there championing the origin of the sport.  His first Kona was done with the raw idea of trying to finish something that combined the harsh distance in all three sports.  The handful first did so the 112 mile bike on a bicycle with a basket.  In that basket was all their add station materials (water and peanut butter sandwiches) and tools for flats and broken chains. Self contained and no gears to shift.  Ugh.  Now that takes iron. Mark has over 40 national lifeguard titles.  And his 54 year old frame shows the years of training. Soundly sound. He pioneered triathlon events and actually competed, won his own events, and turned around and event operated them.

While Mark’s cells are filled with ironmans and lifeguarding, Chris Frost’s are composed of water ski racing and endurance running.  He started out on the Ironman circuit and water ski racing with races. He can  hang on behind a boat all the way to Catalina. Gheez. He, too, has an entire life style of eventing and has gotten a lot of fulfillment out of tackling looming adventures such as the Sahara Desert and Badwater to Whitney.  Races that take between 30 and 60 hours or days and days and days.

And me, well.  I am the timing girl that owns PRIME TIME.  And I run in fast circles.  Ones that have 10 hurdles in the way.  Or to go along with my indecisive flare, I do the hepthatlon because it involves a gamete of track field and running events.

September 18, 2010

FUN n FUNKY Events and Eventers: My Saturday, Sunday Journey with races and race people.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 1:07 pm



There are a lot of “mix it up, make it different” events out there for the fall. I get a chance to get sneak previews when I meet with the race directors and go over their courses and race set ups. So here’s your sneak peek.  I dropped materials off at Runnergy in Sherman Oaks  for a Dirt Dash packet pick up.  The event is on Saturday, Sept.  25, 2010  . It benefits the Salvation Army and is staged at their camp in the Santa Monica Mountains in Malibu Canyon between the 101 Fwy and Pacific Coast Highway.  A participant has the option to run a 5k mud run, 5k or 10k trail run, or do all of them.  It is awesome to have hills, mud, trails, dirt, and ocean vista views so close to Los Angeles, but a vacation feeling away.  I like the instant ‘get away’  that engulfs me when I bounce off the freeway and wind through that canyon. 

After dropping off the packets, I headed out to Conejo Valley and met with the event promoters of the Conejo Valley Halloween Mud Run.  Another not normal, but highly fun event.   Boys will be boys.  These guys are bringing in an excavator to build mud pits.  They are renting out the entire picturesque Dos Vientos Community Park at the end of Bochard Road in Thousand Oaks and making it into an obstacle course of things to go over, under, and through.  They are designing a short course that circles and runs through the park with a mud trough and obstacles.  For the ones that want to run run , they also have a long course with miles of trails that end through the short course mud and obstacles.  Definitely dirty.…/conejovalley-halloween-mudrun-2010 

The event promoters are also a part of the Tour of California cycling stage race and I begged a ride off of them while I was out there.  It is good to ride with cyclists that know how to shift gears, hold back and conserve energy, spin effortlessly and efficiently, climb hills out of the saddle,  and have road savvy bike manners.  There are some nice roads to ride around Conejo Valley.  I appreciated the chance to ride and use the day as a cross training recovery day.  I felt that ‘on a mini vacation’ feeling riding on that end of the Santa Monica Mountains, the same feeling Malibu Canyon gives me.  I liked the wisps of sea breeze air. 

From Conejo Valley I dropped down into Camarillo to meet with the Santa to the Sea event director.  He lives right around the corner from his Santa off of the 101 Fwy.  The neighborhood was a strong majority of hard working farm workers.  There was a vendor pushing a cart full of corn on the cobs.  The front of his home looked much like the others, but a tad more manicured.   Once in the gate it opened up to a fully landscaped acre of incredibly inviting property.  Mike is a retired high rise steel construction worker using his retirement constructively!  He built his property into a pool with a walk in island style bar , a detached work shop , a grassed playground so park style, and a garden that actually had promising produce.

Mike had put together his run SANTA to the SEA, being held Sunday, December 12, 2010  to provide a means for a toy drive to give his neighborhood and ones like his a better Christmas. The idea of the race is to come not only with an entry fee, but a toy to be given to those in need.  Mike put a request out for those in need to toys at Christmas and got thousands of needy responses back! So runners, put it on your calendar to do something giving at Christmas and bring a toy. His Half Marathon course starts at his Santa.  The race is set up so the runners go park at the finish and are bused to the start. I drove the entire course with him and thought; now this is a course worth running.  I chuckled when he prepped me for the two big hill climbs on the course…the two overpasses.  So folks, it is a pretty tame territory, flat course.  His description on his website lets you know that it is purposely designed to show off the area. “The Santa to the Sea Half Marathon course starts at the GIANT SANTA located at 2801 Ventura Blvd. along the 101 Freeway in Oxnard between the Rice Road and Del Norte Blvd. off ramps. We run east along Ventura Blvd. and cross the 101 at Del Norte Blvd. The course goes through the famous strawberry fields of Oxnard then passes through a new business park and heads to downtown Oxnard and PLAZA PARK. The course heads west and goes through the beautiful Historic District with the homes in this area, known as Candy Cane Lane, decorated for Christmas. Then it is straight to the beach and the beautiful Marine Emporium Landing, finish line and festival.  Ps.  If you are intimidated by the half marathon distance, there is a two person relay and a 5K that runs around the harbor.

After watching a sailing ship with full sails cruise in , I was introduced to a lot of the locals at the Rudder Room, a sailor’s atmospheric bar right past the harbor overlooking the sands, the sea, and the Channel Islands.  It was fun to get to know a town from its Santa to its Sea. Thank you, Mike, for making this a possibility to all kinds of runners on December 12, 2010.

I cruised out of the harbor and headed to the Pacific Coast Highway and Malibu.  I was hitting this stretch of road with its rocky beaches, sand dunes, and surf right at my favorite time of the day…sunset.  I had to pull over, roll down the windows, and listen to the crashing waves.  I had to get out and let the strong winds whip my hair and the setting sun touch fill my eyes and tough my heart.  I had to conclude that this was a good day.

September 14, 2010

What do Butterflies, ants, and hornets have in common? A bad course.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 1:01 pm

You arrived like butterflies, went out like ants, and came back like hornets.  Our deepest apologies for the CBS Studios run last week.  It ended up being the race that everyone ran whatever course they could devise and came back when they felt like it.  We have never seen so many get so lost on any course before.  We took the brunt of your inquiries upon your return since we were the timing company and at the finish line. So sorry for the event course mix up. The event was for a great cause.  They assured us that they would monitor the course better next year.  Trivia course info.  The lead female runner in the 10K is also an avid horse woman.  She is training a three year old that she fancies and calls FANCY. She invited me to ride her beauty after a race.  I appreciated the break from timing and the chance to reminisce childhood moments on a horse.  My sister had earned her own money and bought a horse when I was in Junior High. We pulled weeds and did landscaping all through High School to pay for food and board and rode and rode and rode.  She allowed me to show her horse in shows.  Good times.  My sister now owns a riding ranch and with over 30 horses!   Meet Kathleen Evans horse Fancy.  She has something in common with the owner.  They both run fast!

Thank you, Kathy, for letting me ride your horse.

  It has been interesting taking the time to meet people behind the bibs.

  The CBS Studios Ovarian Cancer run got very interesting when this pod

  of  gifted, athletic looking women about my age greeted me and said that

  the common factor amoung them is that they had all had dated my ‘voice.’

  Too interesting.

 By the way, we also Timed the Santa Monica 5000 with its spectacular

crowd of elite runners and its pack of 3,000 trailing them.  The lead runner

 clipped that course in 13:58…a road race 5K.  Wow, beyond wow.

September 13, 2010

2nd Continent remotely run. 5 more to go. UGG. Australia.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 10:13 pm

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Scroll through this past month and find what I found, felt, discovered, attempted, and conquered.I have been places on earth, but not where there  are wallablies, Tasmanian devils, and Kiwis…nor this kindly of people, beaches, mountains, and sunsets and… a tough red run.

It reads backward…as the days spent  in New Zealand climbing a glacier, sightseeing the west coast of the South Island in a hip camper van in the freeze of winter happened after the marathon. So did Tasmania, the island below Austrailia ,explored in search of Tasmanian Devils and myself.  The Outback Marathon was sandwiched with days near Sydney in the Blue Mountains and mingling with wallabies, koalas, and the cuteset Austrailian owl and days in Melbourne and the best surf beaches in the world.  So page backwards and backwards and backwards and eventually you will find this pursuit of a marathon on every continent started in March with a trained athlete,  busy, bustling business, a broken marriage, dear relationships on the rocks and a choice to move forward one growing step at a time.

Yoga: stretch to fit flexibility in my schedule!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 6:39 pm

I am still feeling pain and tension in my feet and ankles. They are just plain, ouchy sore. Still.  It is over a month since the OUTBACK. How do you mileagers keep doing this week after week, month after month?  Guess the amazing body adjusts to it.   My poor feet do not want to let me run around the block.  So I am backing off the mileage for a month and beefing up the core conditioning.  Since I am on the go, go, go and have to live out of that clank, clank, clank rolling luggage , lug…lug…I had one of my staff help me install a program called P90X on my lap top.  It has a 1 to 1 /2 hour routine set for each day and appears to me to be very balanced.  This will help focus my all over the map approach to what kind of training I should do today.  For the next 90 days, I just follow the videos and throw in my runs.  There’s my ‘off season’ work.

 I am interested to see what the CORE results will be.  I have seen the CORE results on one of my staff.  We happened to be hiking to a lake at 10,000 feet  on his 90th completion day. We celebrated by taking pictures of the his credible poise, balance, abs, and such that he had developed over the course of just following the guy on the v ideo.   All that body conditioning from YOGA and lifting?

 I had been running alone on the Rim of the World High School track . (Not too many places in California one can train at over 6,000).  So it was welcomed company when a  lady stepped out of her car, warmed up, and took off jogging pretty fluidly around the track.  I could tell she was doing something other than running. She said her key to fitness at her age (which happened to be mine) was YOGA.  She said she was an ultra athlete…ultra runner, ultra triathloner, and  ultra hiker.  Then her muscles began to age and lose elasticity. Her joints hurt.  Her hips flexors stayed too tight.  YOGA she smiled was helping keep the firmness and flexibility.  My hurting muscles told me to give it a try.  But the try is coming Caren Style in the form of P90X with certain days and weeks dedicated to yoga and others to arms, abs, legs, plyos, etc..  I will let you know how it goes.  I am going to keep up the running three days a week ,with a fourth day of cross training. AND AND AND…I am going to plan the next remote adventure marathon while keeping up with timing all your fall races.  Check out and our calender section and race on!  I know I am.  And keep journeying with me as I discover new faces, new places; both  inside myself and out there in that jam, crammed world.   I can’t even balance on my own two feet.  This ought to be interesting.

September 4, 2010

Cry a river of tears, build a bridge, and…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 1:35 am

You haven’t heard from me much this week because I worked, and slept, and worked, and slept some more and tried to catch up from the feeling that I have spent more time in the air this summer than on the ground.  I poured some meaningful time into meaningful friends and am acutally trying to read a book that I will share tidbits with you.

Greatest tidbit of advice I got this week came from a college student whom I used to be her highschool track coach.  I asked her how she handles the vigors of relationships: the ups and downs, and the seemingly constant turnover. She looked at me with deep , beautiful, spunky eyes and matter of factly blunted, “You cry a river of tears, build a bridge, and get the ‘f'”lip over it.”  Oh, my insides said.

September 1, 2010

BEAR with me…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 1:10 am

I think I blogged way back when about bear stories.  I tend to find some way to bring them up.  How many people have ever been charged by a bear?  Not once, but twice?  I choose to be in the mountains as often as possible. My youth was filled with trips into the Sierras and my college summers were spent as a water ski,  rock climbing, backpacking camp counselor at Bass Lake near Yosemite National Park.  Bears sniffed us out with our packs on, raided the trash cans, climbed on the deck of our camp house and looked into the window. I jumped in a trash bin to hide during a competitive night game of ‘capture the flag’… with a bear.  I had a bear climb a tree and jump out over our hung food bags, grabbing them on the way down and landing on the corner end of my tent.  My heart pounded like bongo drums as I played dead and the beast dragged the bags up and over a log turning ferocious when the strings entangled momentarily before it snapped them like meaningless threads with a few yanks and a lot of growling.  I respected these huge clawed and toothed mammals.   One charged my brother and I when we were crawling into his den thinking it cool to explore this burned out Redwood tree.  And I had the act of ultimate male protection when, as a newlywed, we were charged in an open meadow on our way to the top of Half Dome. Both charges were later labeled by others and false charges.  Seemed pretty un-false to me.  Both were warded off by high pitch shrilling, more like screaming for our lives.  I did not have a cartoon character,” oh, isn’t he cute” value of the bear.  I respected the bear’s ability to be unpredictable and terrifyingly forceful. 

So I warned Kimberly that we had some strikes against us for leaving so late in the day on our hike to the lookout point of Granite Mountain in the Cascades outside of Seattle.  We would have to return by headlamp in the dark, hitting the summit just at sunset.  Dark rain clouds were going to overtake us before we reached that summit.  And every bush seemed to have nice juicy berries on them.  Strongly self-sufficient she just grinned and nodding she was up for the challenge.  We moved fast and we moved up.  The trail climbed 4,000 in the last 4 miles.  Can you guess it?  Here I am again RACING AGAINST THE SETTING SUN once again. It IS the story of my life.

So what low mumbled words came out of my mouth when two cubs bounced past us in the dusk and scampered down the open avalanched ravine?  The avalanche had wiped out the trees and made it the perfect fertile bed for berry bushes.  The cubs deftly plucked berries and virtually ignored us.  Kimberly got out her phone and recorded the frolicking duel while in the background of her video I am desperately scanning the hillside brush for their mamma saying more mumbled words.  I told her best that we step back and let the lady pass.  But sunlight was leaving us and the mamma never followed her cubs.  We noisily moved ahead and out of sight of the cubs and relaxed as the rain started to fall.  We could see the summit and dared not stop.  Our cooled sweat would not be good at this elevation. 

That’s when we saw the sow . She looked huge to me.  She had beautiful jet black fur and was a giant, giant, giant dog.  She was very occupied picking berries.  She seemed a long way from her cubs, but those were her cubs because when she did spot us, she raised and gazed past us to the ravine the cubs had tumbled down.  We were standing between her and them. 

We picked up rocks.  Like that was going to help.  The sow started to descend down the ravine. Undaunted, but descending.  Kimberly asked if we should run.  Run where?  Back down the trail and get more between her and the cubs?  And, yet.  I wanted nothing to do with trying a standoff with this obese lady.  So I did what I always do when I am under stress.  Told Kimberly a life story.  One time I was taking a set of high school kids on a 25 mile round trip up the backside of Half Dome.  The forest service always made us hike to the trailhead through the back of the valley floor campground so we didn’t overcrowd the tourist trail to the falls.  As we were weaving through the camp sites we spotted a man up a tree yelling at his wife inside their camper.  I have no idea what their names were, but they seemed like a Fred and Myrtle.  So Fred yelled to his wife, “Myrtle.  Myrtle. There’s a bear in our camp. Grey haired Myrtle came out, accessed the situation, disappeared back in the motor home, and came out with a pot and pan.  She banged them at the bear that was busily removing the insulation on their ice chest. Bang, bang, bang. The bear shot upright. In his fright, the bear bolted up the tree and out on the same limb as poor Fred.  We laughed about that all summer.

I wasn’t laughing now.  We debated. Move onward and upward past the bear and claim victory of the summit…and descend by flash light pass this bear family…ooooh the adventure. Or back down the trail as quickly and unobtrusively as possible… and get past the cubs before the mamma overtakes us.  I have always tied and gagged wisdom and gone for the adventure thus giving me a lifetime of stories from the poor choices I have survived.  This time wisdom begged not to be so mistreated, and I listened.  We backed down and defeat descended with us.  We were bummed to turn back. We felt wise and not victorious. That’s twice in a short amount of time I have done something very out of character for me.  I trotted to the side of the track in the middle of a national race last month.  And this month I just didn’t feel like adding a third charging bear story to my repertoire.

Steve and Skip were Washingtonians hoofing it to get back to the parking lot before dark.

 I told Kimberly that there was possibly one more party on the mountain.  She asked what made me think that. I said because there were four cars in the parking lot and 3 parties and passed us coming down as we started up.  These guys overtook us on our descent and asked if we had seen the bear.  We said yes and described our experience.  They looked at us odd and said their bear encounter had been a brown furred black bear with one cub.  We all concluded that the berry gully was bear laden and our choice to vacate before dark was WISE.

Blog at